Information Technology

Gartner Glossary

Streaming

Technique that supports the continuous, one-way transmission of audio and/or video data via the Internet and, more recently, via a mobile network. In contrast to audio (for example, MP3) and movie (for example, MPEG) files that must first be downloaded, streaming media begins playing within a few seconds of the request. Streaming requires a streaming encoder (which converts the audio or video source to a data stream), a streaming server that delivers the encoded media over a network, and a client media player that cooperates with the server to deliver uninterrupted media. To compensate for variations in network quality and latency, the client buffers a few seconds of audio or video before beginning delivery, then tries to stay ahead during playback. Examples of streaming systems include Windows Media, QuickTime and RealPlayer.

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